Jenson Button's time of 1:40.628 was good enough for eighth place in the Malaysian GP practice. – EPA Photo
SEPANG: McLaren may have started off their Formula One season with a blast in Melbourne, but it may be a different story in the Malaysian Grand Prix here.
Their drivers Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button secured a double podium finish for the team at the season-opening Australian GP.
However, Button feels McLaren need to find more pace over the long distance runs if they want to remain competitive this weekend.
Both Button and Magnussen battled to get inside the top 10 in the free practice sessions yesterday with only the British driver achieving the feat.
The 34-year-old former world champion’s time of 1:40.628 was good enough for eighth place while Magnussen finished 12th (1:41.014).
Button said that McLaren, whose MP4-29 is sporting a new nose tip this weekend, are finding it difficult in the heat and humidity on both the short and long runs.
“We’re finding it tough out there today, especially in this kind of heat. Our long runs were tricky in terms of both tyre degradation and outright pace.
“We’re now going through the data and there is a lot of work still to be done.”
The Brit, who won the Malaysian GP in 2009 on his way to the world title, added that it is in the long runs that McLaren really need to up their game.
“I’m sure people are getting excited about individual lap times but they don’t count for too much around here because you can usually overtake. It’s in the long runs that you need to be on pace and that’s where we’re finding it a bit more difficult at the moment.”